Gifted and Talented

•”The term ‘gifted and talented,’ when used concerning students, children or youth, means students, children or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school to fully develop those capabilities” (Marlend, 1971).

Most definitions of giftedness in the United States are based on the federal definition, which incorporates capability and achievement. See the National Association for Gifted Children’s (NAGC) website for a full definition.

Gifted and Talented

Giftedness refers to the ability and use of untrained natural abilities (called aptitudes or gifts) in at least one realm (2000). Children with abilities measured as at least 10% higher than the ability of other individuals of the same age to be considered gifted (Gagne, 2000).  

Talent refers to systematically developing abilities or skills, as well as knowledge, in one or more specializations of human activity (2000). As with giftedness, the degree of the talent needs to be at least 10% above the measured ability of peers the same age (Gagne, 2000).

Differentiating Between High Achievers and Gifted Learners

According to Davis & Rimm, there are clear differences between high achievers and gifted and talented students (2004).

For each difference, think about how this might impact a students’ feelings and sense of self:

  • Sometimes gifted students cognitive development happens faster than their emotional development.
  • Many gifted students are intrinsically motivated rather than motivated by grades or positive feedback. When assignments are interesting, individualized, meaningful, and connected to their passion, they demonstrate motivation and interest. If they are not interested, they may not complete assignments or stay focused. In addition, gifted students may prefe asking questions rather than answering them.
  • Some gifted students may be more sensitive than some of their peers. They may react to different situations more extremely, because they understand situations and people’s behavior intuitively.
  • Gifted students may be introverted and may seek out friends who are also introverted and/or they may always keep themselves slightly distanced from peers.

Differentiating between Gifted and Talented and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Individuals with ASD often lack ‘age-appropriate social interactions and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior or interests (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Similarly, a child who is gifted and talented could  be on the autism spectrum. However, this is not always the case.

Equally important to mention, is that children with ASD (and other learning challenges)who are also gifted and talented are often labelled as twice-exceptional. Working with a twice-exceptional student can be very challenging. Sometimes students’ strength and weaknesses clash. Each child has their strength and weaknesses which need to be addressed to create a positive learning experience. According to Amend et al., it is very difficult to identify the twice-exceptional students (2009). Unfortunately, gifted and talented students can be easily misdiagnosed because they are misunderstood by people in the medical profession who are not completely adept in the field of giftedness.

For a deeper understanding of the difference, Amend et al. recommends their book ‘Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults’ (2009). Amend et al. provides a Giftedness/Asperger’s Disorder Chekist (GADC) (2008). This checklist can help to determine whether a child is gifted and talented, on the Autism Spectrum, or twice-exceptional. However, it is recommend to find a qualified psychologist who is specialized in both autism and giftedness to provide the right support for and diagnosis of the student (Amend et al., 2009).



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Inclusive Perspectives in Primary Education Copyright © 2021 by room305 and Inclusive Education Class 2020-2021 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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